Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Berghoff root beer
Herman left his native Dortmund, Germany, at age 17 and landed penniless in Brooklyn in 1870. Barely 12 years later he founded his namesake brewery in Fort Wayne, IN. The beer was well-received, inspiring Herman to open a café in Chicago to showcase Berghoff's Dortmunder-style beer. It sold for a nickel a glass, a dime for a stein, and sandwiches were offered for free.
The bar remained open even through Prohibition by selling near-beer and Bergo soda pop and became a full-service restaurant that still carries the Berghoff name. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933 the city issued liquor license No. 1 to the Berghoff and has done so each year ever since."
Product details: 12 fl. oz. Prepared and bottled under the authority of The Berghoff Restaurant Co., Chicago, IL 60603. The Berghoff Brewery Inc., Monroe, WI. 125 calories, 31g sugar. Glass bottle with twist off top. http://www.theberghoff.com
Ingredients: Carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel color, natural flavoring, yucca extract, ethyl alcohol, propylene glycol alginate and triethyl citrate, preserved with citric acid and sodium benzoate.
My thoughts: Another root beer with a German-sounding name, though this one actually has authentic German origins. "Berghoff" must be German for candy* because this root beer tastes more like liquid candy than it does a serious beverage. The root beer flavor is a joke, strong but not very rooty. Aftertaste has some wintergreen flavor; again, very candy-like. The carbonation shares one particular characteristic with Hitler: dead. There is absolutely no life to this aspect. Despite the candy-nature artificial flavor of this drink, sweetness isn't awful, as there isn't a particularly sugary coating left in my mouth. If this "old fashioned" root beer is indicative of the "old fashioned" power of the Germans, it's no wonder they got their asses handed to them during WWI and (eventually) WWII. In fact, after holding out for so long on joining the war effort, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was given one of these root beers while taking a leisurely afternoon respite from the day's hard labors. But after tasting it, he leaped off his laurels and suddenly declared, "F*ck it gentlemen! Any country responsible for producing the sort of twisted man who could make such a terrible blight of the sacred beverage of root beer deserves to be be wiped off the map. To War! To war!"** Unfortunately for Hitler and his fellow Third Reich compatriots, Roosevelt didn't realize that Berghoff had abandoned Germany back in 1870 and that the then-current-Nazi-Party was in no way responsible for this particular beverage, but the mistake came to light too late and the U.S of A. had already plunged themselves into the war. The rest, they say, is history.
*Süßigkeiten is actually the correct German word.
**I'll bet they didn't teach you that in history class!